We must take the lead in addressing the challenge of global warming that could make our planet and its climate less hospitable and more hostile to human life. Today, I reaffirm my personal, and announce our nation's commitment to reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases to their 1990 levels by the year 2000. I am instructing my administration to produce a cost-effective plan ... that can continue the trend of reduced emissions. This must be a clarion call, not for more bureaucracy or regulation or unnecessary costs, but instead for American ingenuity and creativity, to produce the best and most energy-efficient technology.
President Clinton's Climate Change Action Plan meets the twin challenges of responding to the threat of global warming and strengthening the economy. Returning U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to their 1990 levels by the year 2000 is an ambitious but achievable goal that can be attained while enhancing prospects for economic growth and job creation, and positioning our country to compete and win in the global market.
April 21, 1993
There is no doubt that human activity is increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The buildup of greenhouse gases threatens to change the global climate system, raise sea levels and inundate coastal areas, inflict irreversible damage to ecosystems, and destabilize agricultural production. But the magnitude of the threat should galvanize, not paralyze, our response.
Responding to future threats with immediate action takes vision and discipline. The international community has agreed that action is necessary now, even while the impacts of climate change may take decades to fully unfold. The Framework Convention on Climate Change challenges the industrial countries of the world to begin a long journey with the proverbial first step -- to return greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by the year 2000. We should strive to do no less; ultimately we will have to do more.
A full scale international response is needed to confront the climate change threat, and the United States will help to lead that effort. The President challenges the American people and other countries to meet the ambitious goals of the Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The President's Climate Change Action Plan presented here:
- Returns U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000 with cost-effective domestic actions;
- Includes nearly 50 new and expanded initiatives;
- Includes measures to reduce all significant greenhouse gases -- carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydroflourocarbons, and other gases;
- Takes measures in all sectors of the economy that emit greenhouse gases -- from energy production and use to forestry initiatives;
- Fosters partnerships with business where focused government guidance and flexible approaches can produce cost-effective emission reductions;
- Stimulates investments in the technologies of the future, strengthening the American position in the global environmental technology marketplace;
- Is backed up with real federal resources -- the Administration will commit $1.9 billion in new and redirected funding between 1994 and 2000 to the Action Plan;
- Reduces the deficit through two new policies. One would allow commuters the option of "cashing-out" employer-paid parking, by taking the value of the fringe benefit as taxable income. The second would permit private development at existing Federal hydroelectric facilities in exchange for lease payments. These reforms would raise $2.7 billion between 1994 and 2000;
- Leverages over $60 billion in private investment between 1994 and 2000 in environmental technologies. These investments pay off for U.S. businesses and citizens -- the investments lead to over $60 billion in reduced energy costs between 1994 and 2000, with continued benefits of over $200 billion in energy savings between 2001 and 2010;
- Creates new jobs in the sectors and industries that produce, market, or install technologies that save energy or reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
- Includes a pilot program of joint implementation to gain experience in evaluating investments in other countries for emission reduction benefits;
- Coordinates multiple programs to enhance their effectiveness and to strengthen their relationship with electric and gas utilities, state and local governments, and industry;
- Is designed for rapid and aggressive implementation and minimizes actions likely to be delayed through legislative or regulatory processes;
- Will be actively monitored to review progress toward meeting the President's goal, and will institute new programs as needed to ensure that emission reductions are made; and
- Establishes a White House team to develop strategies for long term emission reductions, including emissions from automobiles and trucks.